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Crackdown On Illegal Pharmacies And Chemists Nets 80 People In Central Region.

Nairobi Area Regional Head Julius Kaluai tries to access a chemist in Kiganjo Estate whose owner locked herself in a plot during the crackdown against medical practitioners operating illegally in Thika. (INSET: Julius Kaluai (centre) talking to the members of the press during a press briefing in Thika. He is flunked by Tom Mwangi (right) and Chebeo Kibet (right).
More than 80 people were arrested this week for operating chemists and pharmacies without licenses.

Officials from the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board led by The Central Region Head Tom Mwangi Kauki said that most of these premises were found operating without the necessary licenses from the drug regulatory authority. Some of the culprits were either not registered or had no training in handling drugs and therefore not qualified to sell drugs. Other premises bore licences for pharmacies located in other areas.

The crackdown which ended on Friday, covered the five Central Kenya counties of Nyeri, Nyandarua, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Kiambu. In Thika region alone, about 20 people were nabbed, specifically in the outskirts of Kiganjo, Makongeni, Kiandutu in Thika and Gatanga and Kenol areas of Murang’a County.

There was drama in various estates in Thika as the illegal operators ran for their dear lives to avoid arrests. Most of the pharmacies remained closed, an indication that they were of questionable character.

Speaking after the operation, Nairobi Area Regional Head Julius Kaluai said that all drugs and premises must be approved and operators licensed in accordance with CAP 244 of the laws of Kenya.

“We want to flush out all illegal practitioners and drugs operating in this country who are posing a great threat to the residents. This is a continuous process that will go on until we get rid of all the quacks in the business,” said Kaluai.

Kaluai asked the people to be vigilant and report any suspicious chemists through the board’s hotline number.

Nyanza Region boss Chebeo Kibet said that the board had developed a unique code for all the registered businesses which anyone could use to verify the genuine traders.

“All pharmacies should display this banner showing its health safety code. As a client, you can SMS this Code to 21031 to ascertain its genuinity. In case there is any doubt, they can report to the board through hotline number 0702475824,” said Kibet.

He added that soon they were going to start co-joining the distributors of these drugs with their clients.

“Very soon we are going to co-charge distributors selling drugs to unregistered pharmacies for abating the crime. We will use the delivery notes and invoices found in procession of the culprits to get their suppliers,” he explained.

Kauki appealed to members of the public to cooperate with officers on the ground, stating that the crackdown was meant to protect them from quacks who endangered their lives.

For one to operate as a pharmacist, they are required to be registered by the board after undergoing training from an accredited institution. They must also sit a Pharmacy and Poisons Board examination to be recognised.

Those in the pharmacist cadre must have a bachelor’s degree while technologists are required to be diploma holders.

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